Downsize Recyclables




If you wanna save as much space as possible with all of your bags or barrels or whatever else you use for recyclable materials, save yourself some storage space and time with this nifty and easy little method. I'm not taking originality credit for it, but it's useful for everyone Green out there.

Step 1: Prepare

First, grab yourself a bottle with the cap still on it.

Unscrew the cap as far as possible while it is still on the threading. This is to let air escape easily from the bottle and also keep it compacted afterwards.

Place your palms on opposite ends of the bottle, being sure not to screw in the cap anymore.

Step 2: Do It!

Squeeze your hands together evenly so that the bottle collapses on itself.

Once it is as small as it will get, screw the cap tightly back into place with your palm. This is to keep air from re-entering and preserve the now economical size.


Step 3: Practicality

By using this method, you will be able to get each bottle to at least 1/4 of its original size! Yes, certain plastics will not crush as easily (looking at you Gatorade and Propel), but even these can be slightly reduced in size. This technique even works on liter bottles, but a little more muscling is involved.

Anyways, enjoy the new found space you have!



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    8 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I watched a program on recycling a while back and found that some places that recycle actually disguard bottles with the lids still intact. The advice was to make sure the lids were removed or the bottles wouldn't even be recycled altogether.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I dunno where that applies, but over here in California it doesn't matter if the bottle still has a lid. oh well I guess


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Here in LA (Lower Alabama), plastic recyclables must have caps removed. if it has the cap, the policy is it goes into the trash. I've seen the employees remove caps, but mostly they just trash bottles with caps.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    That's a neat method. Someone is going to tell you that a better way of addressing this problem is not to buy bottled-water, is this practical for you?


    3 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I used to do this allll the time, it seemed so sensible, but then I found out this from a friend who manages a recycling plant.

    It is much preferred to not do this with the lid. While it does decrease the volume and make it easier for you, it's harder for thye recycling plant.

    The lid means the extra moisture cannot evaporate, which adds together for a 1 tonne shipment of bottles, meaning more fuel is needed for transport.

    It also means that liquids inside can mould, which is more difficult to clean in the plant, and much more disgusting for those on the factory floor.

    Finally, the lids and bottles cannot be recycled in the same machine in some places, so the recycling workers must remove them anyway. (In my town they can only recycle clear and unpigmented HDPE and PET)

    By all means crush it as much as you can (heating PET bottles over the toaster while your bread is toasting makes them shrink), but don't put the lid on afterwards.